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In February 2013, nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah suffered a fatal asthma attack in her home, 25 metres from the South Circular Road in London.1In the previous 3 years, Ella had been admitted to hospital 27 times for exacerbations of her asthma.2 These occasions often coincided with record levels of air pollution near her home, evidencing the presence of a poorly regulated environmental trigger. Nonetheless, an inquest into Ella’s death found asthma – in other words: not air pollution – to be the cause of death. In July 2018, her mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, petitioned the UK courts to quash this decision in favour of establishing air pollution as the cause. In May 2019, permission to reopen the inquest was granted. If the revised cause of death is accepted, Ella will have been the first person in the UK to die, officially, from air pollution.
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- Laville, Sandra. 2019. Ella Kissi-Debra: new inquest granted into ‘air pollution’ death. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/02/ella-kissi-debrah-new-inquest-granted-into-air-pollution-death.
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